Former State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Japan
Date of Birth: 1944
Place of Birth: Hokkaido
Seiko Hashimoto brings Olympic glamour to the Africa-Asia
axis. Born in 1964 in Hokkaido, she competed in seven Olympic Games,
four as a speed skater and three as a cyclist. After taking a bronze
medal in the women's 1,500-metre speed skating event at the Albertville
games of 1992, she parlayed her sports career into a seat in the House
of Councillors, the upper house of Japan's Diet, on the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ticket.
elected in 1995, Hashimoto is now serving her third consecutive
six-year term. In 2003, she became Deputy Secretary General of the LDP.
Prime Minister Taro Aso appointed her State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, a vice-ministerial post under Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, in 2008.
In April, Hashimoto attended the Conference in Support of the Somali
Security Institutions and the African Union Mission in Somalia in
Brussels, reiterating Japan's continued financial and technical support
for the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu.
On 11-14 June 2009, Hashimoto led a business delegation to Rwanda
to explore tourism opportunities. While in Kigali, she announced
Japan's plans to open an embassy there in 2010. From there, she flew to
Kampala to attend the Africa-Asia Business Forum (15-17 June). Although
the Forum took tourism development as its theme, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
took the chance to push for greater access to Asian markets for African
crops. The Forum is one of the measures supported by 2008's Tokyo
International Conference on African Development IV.